CaGBC office earns Canada’s first LEED v4 Platinum commercial certification

by Brianna Crandall — February 24, 2017 — The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) recently announced that its new Vancouver office has certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 Platinum for Interior Design + Construction (ID+C) — becoming the first commercial project to earn LEED v4 Platinum in the country. As Canada’s leading nonprofit supporting the design and construction of green, healthy buildings, CaGBC’s goal with this new office was to provide leadership by example to the industry and demonstrate how a state-of-the-art, innovative green office can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve employee well-being.

Climate change mitigation through green building rests first in improving building performance wherever possible, says CaGBC. In order to earn LEED v4 Platinum certification, one of the most rigorous green building standards in the world, CaGBC worked with industry leaders DIALOG, Ledcor Construction Ltd., and Integral Group. Through this collaboration, the CaGBC Vancouver office was able to earn a final predicted energy cost savings of 25.3 percent compared to ASHRAE 90.1-2010, with a 39 percent reduction in indoor water use.

The selection of an appropriate location for a project is critical, and was a key contributor in CaGBC earning this LEED Platinum certification. Choosing to lease office space in the newly opened MNP Tower at 1021 W. Hastings St., a LEED Gold-certified building owned by Oxford Properties Group, provided many advantages due to its dense downtown location. This includes ample access to amenities and strong bicycle and public transportation networks, which encourages employee wellness and mitigates the environmental impacts of commuting. CaGBC built on the idea of wellness by also incorporating an open-office design, a variety of workspace options, and sit-stand desks to maximize ergonomics.

Building materials also play a large role in mitigating carbon emissions, which is why the project team focused on product selections that had life-cycle information available, along with environmentally, economically, and socially preferable impacts. This included sourcing flooring, shades and fabric that are Cradle2Cradle certified or that have Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs); ensuring 80 percent of workstation furniture was from reused, refurbished or recycled sources; and using VOC-absorbing gypsum and other low-VOC products to maximize indoor air quality.

The innovative office space not only achieved LEED v4 Platinum, but has served as a learning tool for CaGBC staff, visitors and the project team, says the organization. A new video detailing the design and construction process of the office is available, along with project highlights, on the CaGBC’s Vancouver office Web page. CaGBC recognizes the 40 industry sponsors for this project who provided in-kind services and support leading to its successful completion on the Web page as well.